The Covered Dish
By Debbie Dance Uhrig
When I sat down to pen my column this morning all I could think of was how a lemon ‘something’ sounded so refreshing. Though it’s only been a couple of years, I decided to again feature my lemon poppy seed bread. One reason is because it just sounds so good right now. The other is because I felt it would be a great partner to the zucchini pineapple bread, from last week. One of my good friends, Nancy, from Branson, contacted me this week. She made the zucchini pineapple bread with her own modifications to the recipe, with fruits and nuts. Her report was they loved the bread! Yeah, now she’s off trying some substitutions for the oil, in the dish. I had to make mere suggestions because I have not ‘played’ with those modifications.
Once again I must comment on how wonderful it is to have a loaf of this delicious bread in the freezer. It’s ready at all times! This week I was once again reminded the importance of staying on top of things, on the home front. Sometimes I do the procrastination thing. Too tired to fold clothes, I’ll do it in the morning, that sort of thing. You never know when something can suddenly pull you away. This week, my good friend had a home mishap that resulted in 3 fractures in the knee and 3 more, in the ankle. She is taking things in stride, with an upcoming surgery. The whole incident reverberated the importance of keeping things in good order at home. It’s like leaving a gallon of gas in the car overnight. That one gallon wouldn’t get you to the hospital, in many areas. I think I better get on with the recipe because my ‘upbringing’ is surely winning, in this conversation!
Do any of you remember the first time you had a poppy seed bread? I certainly do, thank goodness it was made correctly. Once in my teaching career I received a loaf with the drizzle sauce missing. Talk about dry, this is a crucial part of making poppy seed breads.
Another important part is poking the cake after it is baked. When I do a loaf I would estimate there are around 100 holes poked over the top of the bread.
The tool used for poking, can be a meat fork, but usually I reach for a wooden skewer.
Pour the sauce through the cake, cover with a t-towel or parchment paper and head to bed. The bread will easily slip out of the pans the next morning. This is nice to know if you’re a late night baker, like myself. I wrap loaves in saran and then follow with foil. They should hold up for 10-12 months if they’re wrapped properly.
Before lemon and orange poppy seed breads regular poppy seed breads focused on almond and butter extracts.
When I put the zest into the breads I use a micro planer/zester with four holes across. The zesters with six holes across tend to do a style of zest I call ‘angel hair’. If you want the lemon to be pronounced you will want to use the micro planer with the smaller amount of holes. It’s a bit like putting cheese inside corn muffins. If you use the fine cheese it melts into the dough and you never know it’s there. Always use a regular cheese grate in those cornbread muffins.
Poppy seeds, consult your physician if you’re afraid they will show up on a drug test. A nutritionist should also be able to pinpoint this more precisely. You can google the subject on line, to draw your own opinion. There are so many different answers to poppy seeds, it’s just a confusing subject at times.
To make your mouths water a little, I slipped a pot roast in the oven while I was writing and now it’s time for me to go snap green beans, for dinner tonight. Have an outstanding week, keep yourselves safe. Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecoveredish.com
Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk of choice
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened, may melt
2/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons lemon extract*
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
Zest from 1 medium-large lemon**
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice (Use fresh juice and bottled juice if necessary.)
2 teaspoons lemon extract
4 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray/dust two bread pans with vegetable spray including flour.
In a mixer, combine the eggs into the sugar, adding the milks, butter, oil, extracts and zest. Blend all ingredients. With a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients. Gradually combine the two mixtures together until blended smooth. Pour into 2 prepared bread pans, I prefer glass. (May use one Bundt pan, however timing and temperature may vary.)
Tap pans on counter to release any air bubbles; place in oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees in order to maintain a light bread with a softer top. Continue at 300 degrees approximately 55 minutes.
When the bread is almost done prepare the sauce by mixing all ingredients together over low heat. Cook until butter is almost melted and the sugar dissolved. If it gets too hot, allow it to cool before using. With a skewer, thin chop stick or meat fork, poke randomly over the top of both cakes. Poke all the way to the bottom. Slowly pour glaze down into the holes of each cake, dividing evenly. Allow cakes to cool totally before removing from pans.
Yields 2 bread pans or one Bundt cake.
*3 teaspoons of lemon zest were implemented in the cake body. If you desire a milder dose of lemon use only 2 teaspoons.
**With zest the more the merrier, to lemon hounds, but again if you like a milder approach use only a medium lemon.